July 26, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois baseball coach Ed Mathey announced the addition four student athletes to the program's Class of 2012, now up to 15 total signees Wednesday morning. The new editions include two juniors and two freshman, one of whom was drafted in the 33rd round by the Chicago White Sox.
"We're excited to add these guys to the class, which is shaping up to be a pretty big one all-in-all," stated Mathey. "I think every single one of them has a chance to make a positive impact. They're positive people and they're competitors."
The lone Major League Baseball draftee in the class, left-handed pitcher Jon Savarise (Lincolnshire) of Stevenson High School, was taken in the 33rd round by the Chicago White Sox (1,011 overall) and is NIU's first high school draftee to join the squad since former-Huskie Troy White enrolled at Northern Illinois in 2008. The other frosh, Brandon Mallder (Bridgeview) of St. Laurence High School, was an All-Chicago Catholic League selection and an all-region selection by The Chicago Sun Times. Northern Illinois now has 12 freshman signees in the class of 2012.
The Huskies called upon junior college transfers in the late signing period, adding Brody Justice, a southpaw pitcher from Frisco, Texas, and outfielder Landon Tenhagen of Burlington, Wis. Justice played collegiately at Paris Junior College, appearing mostly as a relief pitcher (two career starts), while Tenhagen played at Madison Area Technical College, a NJCAA Division II World Series qualifying team in 2011 and 2012. The Wolfpack finished third and fourth nationally in '11 and '12, respectively.
With the loss of eight seniors from last year's team, the Huskies needed more upperclassmen to fill the void. Mathey said "These guys can come in and make an immediate impact we feel. They're both juniors and are proven players at the college level and they will add to what we already have returning in spring 2013.
The Huskies signing class of 15 (three junior transfers, 12 freshmen) will join a Northern Illinois squad that closed 2012 sixth in the MAC West division, finishing the season 15-40 overall. Despite the record, the Huskies received countless national accolades (Alex Jones, Top-25 candidate Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award) and accomplished program firsts along the way, including a series-sweep over Miami (Ohio). The Huskies-Redhawks series spans 37 years.
Complete breakdown of the four signees, plus biographical information, is listed below. For more news and updates on NIU baseball, follow the team on Twitter @NIU_Baseball. To read about November 2011 signees, click here.
Name Pos. Hometown (Last School)
Brody Justice * LHP Frisco, Texas (Paris JC)
Brandon Mallder OF Bridgeview, Ill. (St. Laurence)
Jon Savarise LHP Lincolnshire, Ill. (Stevenson)
Landon Tenhagen * OF Burlington, Wis. (Madison Area TC)
November 2011 Signees
Name Pos. Hometown (Last School)
Brett Chappell IF Rock Falls, Ill. (Rock Falls)
Tommy Hook IF Lockport, Ill. (Lockport Township)
Bobby Kuntzendorf LHP Yorkville, Ill. (Aurora Christian)
Ryan Olson LHP Sterling, Ill. (Newman Central Catholic)
Jordan Ruckman LHP/IF Kankakee, Ill. (Herscher)
Justin Ruckman RHP/OF Kankakee, Ill. (Herscher)
Nate Ruzich * C Joliet, Ill. (South Suburban College)
Danny Seiton IF Batavia, Ill. (Batavia)
Wes Sery IF Bloomington, Ill. (Normal West)
Brian Sisler IF DeKalb, Ill. (DeKalb)
Johnny Zubek C Oak Forest, Ill. (Oak Forest
* - Designates incoming junior
Jr. | LHP
Frisco, Texas (Justin Wakeland/Paris JC)
PARIS JUNIOR COLLEGE:
Played two seasons for the Dragons … Made eight appearances in freshman and sophomore seasons, with one start each season … Totaled a 1-0 record in 2012, with 10 strikeouts and a 4.67 ERA in 17.1 innings … Struck out 10 and only surrendered six earned runs in 13 innings (4.15 ERA) in rookie campaign.
JUSTIN WAKELAND HIGH SCHOOL:
Two-time letter winner on baseball squad … Team reached the Texas 4A State semifinals in senior season … 3A regional semifinalist in sophomore year … Second team all-conference in junior season, hurling 32 innings with a 3.94 earned run average … Used a pinch runner and batter in senior season after sustaining injury.
Born July 14, 1992 … Son of John and Kelley Justice … Was on the President's List in final semester at Paris JC (Spring '12) … Named to the Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges list in 2012 … Would like to major in corporate communications … Intends to pursue a career in the sport management field … Enjoys fishing, running and playing video games … Admires Justin Verlander because of his respect and approach to the game of baseball … Member of the DeKalb County Liners during Summer of 2012 … Won a state championship with the DBAT Mustangs.
Fr. | OF
Bridgeview, Ill. (St. Laurence)
ST. LAURENCE HIGH SCHOOL:
Two-year varsity letterman … Team finished 30-7 in 2012 and 29-7 in 2011 … Won back-to-back regional championships with the Vikings … Conference champions in 2011 … Team captain and MVP in senior year … First team All-Chicago Catholic League and second team Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Reporter … Chicago Catholic League All-Star Game participant … Stole 43 bases in 49 attempts during career (23-for-27 in 2011) … Batted .345 with 15 doubles, 38 runs, 24 RBI, 18 walks and 11 HBP during senior season … Carried a slugging percentage of .543 in 2012 (15 doubles, one triple, two home runs) … Hit .330 in junior season.
Born February 5, 1994 … Son of Dawn and Mike … Four-year member of school's honor roll … An Illinois State Scholar, receiving distinction for his outstanding academic achievement (2012) … Member of the National Honor Society … Won a gold medal in Life Sciences during senior year … Participated in St. Laurence Forum and Peer Mediation clubs in high school … Lists Josh Hamilton as his favorite baseball player because of the obstacles he's overcome and his respect for the game.
JON SAVARISE (Sav-ar-eese)
Fr. | LHP
Lincolnshire, Ill. (Stevenson)
STEVENSON HIGH SCHOOL/LOYOLA ACADEMY:
Drafted in the 33rd round of MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox (1,011 overall) … Three-year letterman … An all-conference selection and North Suburban All-Star game participant … .386 career batting average in three seasons … Named team MVP during sophomore year … Totaled 10 complete games and 150 strikeouts in three seasons … Batted .511 with 29 RBI, three home runs and 12 doubles during sophomore season at Loyola Academy … Pitched a complete game at U.S. Cellular Field in the Catholic League Classic … Held a 9-9 career pitching record in 20 career starts … Carried a 2.32 ERA during sophomore season … Led team in RBI senior season (30) … Won a regional and national championship with summer league baseball teams … Posted perfect records (5-0 and 2-0) with Top Tier Baseball teams.
Born July 8, 1993 … Son of Terry and Tara Savarise … Volunteered as a youth baseball coach, in Chicago area animal shelters and at St. Patrick's Church … Enjoys fishing, going to the beach, family time and playing with animals … Admires Mark Buehrle because he was a 36th round draft pick and worked his way to the Major League … Would like major in business and work in sports management … Three-year honor roll member.
LANDON TENHAGEN (TEN-Hagen)
Jr. | OF
Burlington, Wis. (Wilmot Union/Madison Area Technical College)
MADISON AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE:
Played for the NJCAA Division II World Series qualifiers (fourth place, '12; third place, '11) … A second team all-region performer in 2012 … Two-time all-conference selection … Led team in home runs (four), doubles (12) and RBI (52) in sophomore season … Finished third on the team in batting average (.367) … Also carried a .984 fielding percentage from the outfield (53 putouts, 3 assists, 1 error) … Played in 36 games as a freshman, knocking in 29 RBI, scoring 23 runs and batting .326.
WILMOT UNION HIGH SCHOOL:
Eight time letter winner … Played football, basketball and baseball for the Wolfpack … Team reached the WIAA Division I Baseball Championship in 2009, falling 3-2 in extra innings to Bay Port … Academic All-Conference selection during senior year … MVP junior and senior year in baseball … Football's MVP in final year … Two-year captain in both football and baseball, and in basketball as a senior … Three-time all-area in baseball and in senior football season … Thrice named all-conference on the diamond an all-conference pick on the gridiron as a senior.
Born September 5, 1991 … Son of David and Laurel Tenhagen … Concentrated on Liberal Arts associates degree at MATC … Enjoys fishing … Looks up to Michael Jordan because "he will always be the greatest basketball player to ever play the game."